PLAYBOOK - Verona in Manila: Manila Shakespeare Company's Romeo andJuliet

Experience Verona and live through the immortal words of William Shakespeare as the Manila Shakespeare Company presents Romeo and Juliet

Last week, I was invited to the press preview of the said play. I together with the other guests were treated to a different kind of experience, an open rehearsal type of preview of a spoken word play. And I must say that I enjoyed every bit of it


I must admit that my Shakespeare experience is limited to a Leonardo DiCaprio movie and local high school production that we were required to watch. So this is something new to me; a breathe of fresh air to my musical-obsessed theater mind.

And it's not just me who are no as accustomed to Shakespeare. According to Manila Shakespeare Company director Nic Campos, Filipino attitude towards Shakespeare remains negative or indifferent. He says he understands the lack of interest as english is not the first language of Filipinos let alone Elizabethan english, the language in which Shakespeare wrote. However, "the cross-cultural relevance of plays like Romeo and Juliet can be carefully and clearly illustrated" said Campos.

But Nic believes that recent decade Shakespearean productions presented Shakespeare as an international playwright. This is in reference to the Royal Shakespeare Company's recently set Julius Caesar featuring an all black cast, set in Africa or Macbeth set in a 1950s Soviet Russia played by Patrick Stewart. Nic believes that this just proves that Shakespeare work transcends global boundaries and gains vitality when viewed from a different perspective. These varied interpretations reminds us that Shakespeare touches upon something universal in our lives.

And that was what I witnessed last week. A snippet of a new interpretation of the classic Romeo and Juliet. What is amazing in this production is that the audience get to live inside the play instead of watching it on a stage. It allows more live-action feel to a traditional production and with the modern twist in the costumes and interactions with the characters, Manila Shakespeare Company's Romeo and Juliet wil surely make you feel like living in the streets of Verona.

Starring Nel Gomez as Romeo and Rachel Coates as Juliet. Also in the play are Katski Flores as Lady Montague, Meynard Penalosa as Lord Capulet, Issa Litton as Lady Capulet, Micko Yabut as Mercutio, Tricia Torres as Benvolia, Jonas Gruet as Tybalt, James Stacy and Howie Cruz as Paris and Prince, Mano Domingo as Friar Lawrence with Rico Del Rosario, Steven Conde and Janine Tolentino. Directed by Nicanor Campos and assistant director Christine Cojuangco.

Catch Romeo and Juliet this February 27, March 5 and March 6 at Teatrino, Promenade, Greenhills. For tickets please TEXT  0939-5969250 or EMAIL